By Chris Perez –
“Saddened by the news that arrived this afternoon from Bobby Heenans daughter Jess, that he has passed,” wrestling broadcaster Gene Okerlund announced on Facebook.
“Bobby and his family have had to endure so much because of his health,” he explained. “Bobby Heenan was such a great friend. You don’t replace people like that. Condolences to Cyndi, Jessica, family, friends and fans. RIP Bobby.”
While a cause of death was not immediately released, Heenan had been battling throat cancer since 2002.
“One of the greatest managers and announcers in WWE history,” tweeted Vince McMahon. “Our thoughts are with the Heenan family.”
Born and raised in Chicago, Heenan made a name for himself in the World Wrestling Association (WWA) and the American Wrestling Association (AWA) before landing in the WWE in 1984.
His fast-talking promos and legendary wit made the manager-turned-color commentator a popular bad guy that fans loved to hate.
Heenan’s career, which spanned more than four decades, is considered by many to be one of the most prolific in wrestling history — with appearances at multiple Wrestlemanias and a laundry list of “clients” to his credit.
“Bobby Heenan… The Greatest Manager, One Of The Greatest Announcers, And One Of The Best In-Ring Performers In The History Of The Business,” tweeted WWE legend Ric Flair.
Heenan’s rise to fame was due in large part to the infamous wrestling stable that he formed, known as the “Heenan Family.” The moniker was meant to show the “strength of their alliance over any opposition,” according to WWE.
“Members of the Heenan Family in the AWA and WWE read like the who’s who of sports-entertainment,” the company said in a statement, listing numerous legends and hall of famers.
Among them were Big John Studd, ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude, ‘Mr. Perfect’ Curt Hennig, Harley Race, and Andre the Giant — whom Heenan led to the ring at WrestleMania III before 93,173 fans.
Though most remember him as the mischievous manager, the “Brain” also saw great success as an announcer.
“Heenan’s constant verbal jousts with fellow WWE Hall of Famers Gorilla Monsoon and ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund on USA Network remain among the most memorable moments in sports-entertainment history,” the WWE said, noting how his parody talk show — ‘The Bobby Heenan Show’ — had a brief run on USA in the late ’80s.
“In addition, ‘The Brain’ was part of the original broadcast team for Monday Night Raw in 1993, and also sat at the announce table for both Raw and WCW Monday Nitro,” the company added.
Current WWE superstars and former greats were taking to Twitter on Sunday night to pay their respects to Heenan.
“I’ll bet the wrestling fans in Heaven are being highly entertained right now,” tweeted WWE announcer Jerry “The King” Lawler.
“He was the best of the best in the biz and a friend,” said Ted DiBiase.
Hulk Hogan added, “Worked with Bobby Heenan from 1980 until my career ended,learned new things from him ever single day,love u my brother rip. HH.”
Filed under cancer , wrestling , wwe
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